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More Funds For Bee Mite Survey

Press Release 1 May 2000

MORE FUNDS FOR BEE MITE SURVEY

The Cabinet's approval of $1.35 million extra funding would enable the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to complete a survey determining the extent of the varroa bee mite infestation, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Since the presence of the mite was confirmed on April 11, MAF has reprioritised its funding and spent $928,000 gauging the spread of the pest.

MAF is unable to reprioritise further within its baseline and this additional funding will enable the survey to be completed, Mr Sutton said.

The survey will be completed by mid-May and MAF will convene an expert technical group to advise it on response options.

"Because options cannot be finalised until the survey is complete, MAF is not requiring beekeepers to destroy infested hives. However, some beekeepers have chosen to do so where infestation levels are high.

"The broad response options are likely to be to implement an eradication programme, implement a control programme, or do nothing. MAF will report back to the Cabinet by the end of May with recommendations."

ENDS

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